Griffith on court ruling: Cops can still act on noise complaints

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith.
Police Commissioner Gary Griffith.

Contrary to posts on social media in the wake of a court judgment which ruled the shutdown of a 2019 Carnival event unlawful, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith has told the public the police were within their right to respond and react to noise complaints.

Last Friday Justice Margaret Mohammed ruled in favour of Carnival events management company Wild Goose Ltd after itsevent was shut down by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) under the Environmental Management Act and the Noise Pollution Control Rules.

The ruling held that the shutdown of the event was an abuse of power.

Speaking during the weekly police media briefing on Tuesday, Griffith said he took note of the ruling, but maintained that the police can and will respond to instances where complaints are made about loud music.

Citing Section 45 of the Police Service Act and Section 70 of the Summary Offences Act, Griffith said the police were mandated to act in any event where public peace was disrupted.

"We should not wait until it comes to Carnival, when there are major events, to remind and advise the public, because what will happen is people can be misguided by the inappropriate and irresponsible comments by some. In their exuberance, to try to boast to feel they can achieve something, they are giving the impression to the public that they can blast their music to the high heavens however I want, whenever it can be done, and there is nothing that can be done."

He also warned individuals: "Likewise, people in their private homes, please do not be misguided by any person who makes irresponsible comments to give you the perception that you can play music how loud you want and there's nothing that can be done.

"It will be done, So I advise the public to please be responsible."

The judgment said on the night of February 26, officers from the Environmental Protection Unit (EPU) were monitoring sound levels at the event at the Queen’s Park Savannah. The officials said the noise was higher than that permitted under the noise variation obtained by Wild Goose Ltd when it applied to host the event.

The ruling said the claimant (Wild Goose) had obtained the noise variation which permitted it to play music at the event at 85 decibels from 6 pm-8 pm and then at 75 decibels from 8 pm-2 am on February 27.

Speaking with Newsday after the ruling, attorney Wild Goose Ltd Rhyjell Ellis said there was no written legislation or law that permits any authority to shut down an event explicitly for noise levels being over any permitted limit.

He also said for an event to be shut down, it must amount to a public nuisance or a breach of the peace.


"Griffith on court ruling: Cops can still act on noise complaints"

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